Monday, July 12, 2010

A tribute to Ernie Harwell and John Wooden

By Rick Morris

It’s been several weeks now since two sports legends – nay, two AMERICAN legends – passed away. Ernie Harwell and John Wooden both lived long, full lives, but were both brought down in the end by diseases that their aged bodies could no longer fight.

I didn’t know either man personally, but I was fortunate enough to speak to Ernie on-air one night and it is still one of the biggest highlights of my life. He agreed to be the keynote guest on one of the “Up All Night” marathons that we broadcast on as a fundraiser for my mother’s memorial scholarship fund, the Carol Morris Scholarship Fund at Bowling Green State University (with proceeds going to help make possible educations of those who are going into the special education field). He was a class act and a wonderful storyteller. I felt bad, feeling like I was bogarting the interview with my queries, but my two co-hosts, both older than I and therefore guys who had listened to Ernie for far longer than I had, were too starstruck to ask many questions! It was a wonderful experience.

But both men were the type who you felt like you knew even without having conversations with them. Both were modest despite their vast success. Both are on a short list for the greatest of all time in their chosen professions, Ernie behind the mike and John coaching a team. Both preached the really important virtues in life that put sports in their proper perspective. Both were, to paraphrase Vin Scully in one of the videos below, MEN.

RIP Ernie Harwell and Coach John Wooden. We have assembled some videos that show the essence of each man.

Ernie Harwell

John Wooden

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